What a long stange (and amazing) trip...
Adam Fritsch '09 - After our last night at El Panchen in Palenque, we started out on a five hour drive to San Cristobal, where we will spend the remaining days of our trip. Over the course of the week, sickness had finally caught up with some of us, including myself. Before starting the long ride, a few of us took some Dramamine and Imodium to help calm ourselves, but the winding roads through the state of Chiapas were able to overcome modern medicine.
After about two hours on the road, we stopped for lunch. Thankful for the break, a few of us walked around to get some fresh air, seeing some beautiful waterfalls that were, in places, about 15 feet high. There were also small shops to buy shirts, souvenirs, and food. Those healthy enough to swim were taken by our fantastic tour guide Alonso on an hour long wade through the river. Though some people bumped into large rocks a time or two, everyone had a great time. After a satisfying lunch, we returned to the curvy roads for another three hours. As luck would have it, many of us started to feel better, but others now had their turn to battle strange foods.
After many days of riding on buses, we had all had our fill of traveling. Little excitement was expected as we approached San Cristobal, but our bus had other plans. After stalling a few times, the driver finally gave up and told us that the bus’s transmission had gone out. Even better, we were in a supposedly rough town called Oxchuc. We had no idea how long we would be stranded. We were very fortunate to see another tour bus stop by. It was also headed to San Cristobal, but had limited seating. Thankfully, it had twenty open seats, just enough for all of us. After squeezing on, we arrived in San Cristobal about 45 minutes later.
David Orr ’57 was there to greet us kindly, and he took us to our hotel, Na Bolom, which is a beautiful complex near the edge of the city. Like most students here, I have a roommate for the trip. Mine is Zafer Ahmed ‘08. Oxchuc decided to curse the two of us even more once we arrived at Na Bolom. Our room, which was named Oxchuc, contained just one bed. A quick switch with a single room, however, erased the final bad memories of Oxchuc. Needless to say, we were all glad to have finally arrived in San Cristobal. It is fitting the only after a trying situation involving modern transportation could we make the transition from studying the ancient sites of Palenque, Bonampak, and Yaxchilan to meeting the current Mayan people near San Cristobal.
Above; the falls of Agua Azul, the falls the group visited on the way to San Cristobal. Below; the main courtyard of the hotel Na Balom, located in San Cristobal, Mexico.